I first learned about Open Farm Sunday from Martin Howlett at Deer Park Farm in Cornwall. Every June, farmers across the country open their gates to the public, letting us see where our food comes from and meet the people behind the scenes.
This was our first visit to a farm on Open Farm Sunday, and we had a brilliant time! We chose to go to Rowdefield Farm, a 280 hectare arable farm near Devizes in Wiltshire. As we drove around the countryside, my daughter squealed with delight every time we saw a tractor, so the sight of a huge tractor as soon as we arrived went down a treat. Even better, we were allowed to climb up there – she was pretty thrilled to say the least!
First stop was the tractor and trailer ride; we all piled into the trailer and with a jolt, off we went, up the country lane past the neighbour’s dairy cows who produce milk for Cadburys.
Open Farm Sunday is keen to educate visitors about life on the farm. As we turned into one of the fields, we learnt about the devasting impact the persistent rain and unseasonally cold Spring has had on the farm’s wheat and rapeseed crops. At the end of the field we saw a lovely old barn, home to barn owls, who can be seen zooming along the hedgerow at dusk. We sped back to the farm, much to the children’s delight.
After waving off the tractor taking the next load of excited families around the farm, we went to explore the farmyard. We met goats, horses, sheep, lambs, ducklings and chickens, and we were even allowed to feed and stroke some of them. Round the corner, we discovered some beautiful birds of prey, including a wonderful European Eagle Owl. A rather unexpected sight – my daughter wasn’t too sure of them so we moved swiftly on!
We were able to get up close to all of the animals and even walk among the chickens and ducks, who were pottering around the field and huddled under the shade of the tree. One of the biggest hits with the children was a seat in the enormous combine harvester (or ‘the most ginormous tractor I’ve ever seen in my life” according to mine) …closely followed by a Rowdey Cow ice cream! Their strawberry ice cream was absolutely delicious.
Practical details about Open Farm Sunday
Open Farm Sunday happens every June – you can find your nearest farm on the Open Farm Sunday website.
Rowdefield Farm has an education centre and welcomes schools, further and higher education groups. Contact John for details.
Rob from Wings and Talons offers educational discussions, experience days, photography days and hunting days with his birds of prey.
You can buy Rowdey Cow ice cream from the Rowdey Cow Farm Cafe & Ice Cream Parlour. Children can munch on an ice cream, meet the animals and let off steam on the playground while the grown ups sit back, relax and enjoy the countryside views.
Would you like to stay on a farm? Check out our great range of farm holidays in the West Country and you could experience life on a working farm!